January 30, 2007
There is something so very lovely about biking in the early morning. Certainly, a huge part of it has to be the lack of humanity.
This morning, I left the house a little before 7. The sunrise was just beginning to lighten the sky.
This morning, I said hello to all pedestrians and bicyclists. The pedestrians almost all said hello. Drug dealers are especially cordial. Bicyclists, eh, not so much.
By the time I got to the Steel Bridge, the sky was the color of a robins egg, and the river looked incredible, with its currents of lazy ripples and mirror-still sections. Ducks and geese were leisurely coasting, and the city was golden in the morning light.
There's stuff like this that brings me so much pleasure in biking. If I were on the bus, crossing the river is just a geographic marking: I'm closer to work. But on the bicycle, it's an element that I interact with. The breezes, or should I say winds, that drive south through the river valley. Feeling the chill from the water. Watching the currents.
To my tremendous pleasure, I was in my building at 7:20, and back at my desk after a shower at 8:00. A shower. How humane!
January 29, 2007
The City that Never Walks
An interesting story from the New York Times Op-Ed Desk today:
The City That Never Walks, by Robert Sullivan
And yet, here in New York, we even have the debate over bicycle traffic backwards. We focus on drivers’ complaints about the bicycle commuter who races through red lights, rather than on the concerns of the mother biking her child around organic-food delivery trucks that idle in bike-only lanes. In December, the police say, a bicyclist was killed on the Hudson River Greenway by a drunken driver speeding along a bike lane that was completely separated from the road. Asked what was being done to improve safety in light of the biker’s death, Mayor Michael Bloomberg suggested that bikers “pay attention.”
“Even if they’re in the right, they are the lightweights,” he told a reporter.
Chilly clear morning
It was a nice ride, though chilly. I actually overdressed. Not a bad thing to complain about.
I stopped and took some pictures of the Willamette, and then continued on. At one point, I saw a seagull flying overhead, with a bagged sandwich in its beak. It was a whole sandwich, 2 slices of bread, in a ziplock baggie.
It's nice to get into work early and with an endorphin rush, which I'll definitely need later today.
January 16, 2007
There's been so much hysteria around here about the SNOW and the ICE and the COLD, with the snow part never happening, that I've quit even paying attention to the weatherman. We've just been keeping the outdoor cat inside, and we've decided that she will remain inside, clothes be damned*.
So this morning we are puttering around, getting ready for work, when sweetie opens the front door and sees snow... all over the ground! And falling from the sky!
After I established that I wouldn't be going to work today, I decided to go for a bike ride.
I thought of all my years in Kentucky and Michigan, where there was lots of snow -- and I never rode in it. I don't have a single memory of it. I loved ice skating and I'd do that whenever I could, but bicycling was for good weather, and good weather only.
So I did the only reasonable thing: I suited up and went for a ride. I decided to ride down to Grand Central, which is about a mile away, nice and flat.
I come off the driveway, and one of the guys who lives in my neighbor's backyard (don't ask, I don't know) waved, smiled, and started to say something in Spanish. The back wheel would slip, and I was getting nowhere fast, but it was fun.
By the time I got to the first main street, there was an SUV breathing down my tire tracks, so I moved over so they could go. When they got beside me, both the driver and passenger gave me a big friendly smile, which I think meant crazy white girl.
A man was walking along with a cup of coffee. He was gorgeous in this wizened, wrinkled sort of way, the sort of face that has seen a lot of living and is still around to tell you about it. He told me he was off to his ex's house, cuz he had some excellent cocoa. Good idea!
The snow dampens the noise. And truth be told, nobody's really out at all. I ride in the car tire tracks and in the virgin snow -- it doesn't really matter.
All the pedestrians -- whether they were just out for a walk or were heading into work -- just seemed happy, and would respond when I said hello.
Good morning, I said to one nicely dressed man. Yes it is!, he replied.
So I went to the bakery, and I sat there and drank coffee and read the paper and just felt really and truly lucky for the first time in a while. And then I rode back home.
*The outside cat is Daphne, who went into internal exile after demolishing a great deal of my clothing and linens. One day I was getting dressed for work, and I couldn't find anything she hadn't chewed a sizeable hole in, and that was the morning she came to live on the back porch. But she is the world's sweetest cat, and now getting on in years, and I am a softie. Clothing, what is that?! I can still use towels when they have holes in them!
January 9, 2007
(holding out for) that teenage feeling
This morning, I got a fair amount of housework done. I vacuumed up dust bunnies in the kitchen & hall, and I generated about a bag of recycling from crap laying around the living room & bathroom.
I also scrubbed the bathtub. Note to self: baking soda might be mildly abrasive, but it's too mildly abrasive to clean the bathtub.
Meanwhile I debated whether I should ride the bike. And whether I should wear work clothes, or exercise clothes.
I'm always obsessed with carrying less. Maybe my desire to declutter is another form of this? I'm not compelled to declutter, that's for damn sure. Anyways, the compromise of riding to work in work clothes and being sweaty versus wearing exercise clothes and bringing a bag of good clothes is one of those things that I can't seem to resolve.
I rode the bus. Every inch of me hurts. I can't, no, no more complaining.
My chiro says that I'm having shoulder pain reoccurance because of the seat to handlebars ratio. Is there such a thing? Basically, I think that translates into "buy a new bike". But I think everything translates, at least in my mind, to buy a new bike.
I'm trying to remind myself, my life is good. Today, my sweetie can't bend his arm. No, we don't know why. My colleague in the next office has her infant in daycare for the first time. I can't imagine how that must feel. Life is good. Life is good.